The Conscious Change I'm Making to Parenting Conversations With My Husband
At 7 pm sharp our kids are both in bed and that is a special gift as it leaves us room as a couple. A full two hours to talk, eat or watch Billions before we starting winding it down.
It leaves us room to get each others’ input on work, kids, friends, etc. So the other night I decided to get my husband’s two cents on discipline. But after explaining the situation at hand and what I thought was the right approach, my husband said only, “that sounds good to me.” Ten minutes later we weren’t talking about parenting anymore but analyzing his response which I’m sure you’ve assumed was less than satisfying for me who was ready to dive into a white boarding session over my free two hours.
So let’s assume you know Dan as well as I do. He’s engaged, involved and not shy to contribute an opinion. So why then did this conversation that I know he’s invested in, fall flat? Here was his take: I never asked a question.
Apparently the five minutes during which I spoke I relayed my own experience and subsequent opinions on the topic but never invited his. So by the time I was done, Dan felt like this was more about me relaying instruction. He admitted it genuinely sounded like a solid approach and because I’m closer to the day to day he was fine to just accept this as a path forward.
All fine and good except I genuinely wanted his input and this was a topic that I wasn’t feeling certain on and on a deeper level I wanted to feel connected, not just aligned. So later, we tried again and this is what I did differently: I admitted the areas I wasn’t certain about and asked for his ideas there.
Sometimes, especially as women who may be taking on the primary caregiver role, we may be unconsciously feeling this weight of having all the answers and it may land on our partner as the same. Admitting we don’t and explicitly asking for other ideas not only makes for a better evening with your partner but it makes this parenting journey a lot more fun.
How do you guys talk about parenting strategies with your partner? Have you ever run into communication issues? I’d love to hear.